Johannesburg - The much-awaited Mercedes-Benz X-Class bakkie has arrived in South Africa in a six-model range priced from R642 103 to R791 315.

This pricing commands quite a premium over the other double cabs on the market. The Nissan Navara that it’s based on - through Merc’s ties with the Renault-Nissan Alliance - tops out at R611 500 for instance, while the most expensive Toyota Hilux diesel costs R601 600, while the Ford Ranger stretches to R633 500 and the four-cylinder VW Amarok to R711 900.

Mercedes believes the price tags are justified, saying the X-Class opens the double cab segment to a new customer group who want a robust bakkie with refined sophistication and unparalleled driving comfort.

“This is the first bakkie to convincingly combine the versatility of a double-cab with the luxury of a passenger car,” says Nadia Trimmel, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans Southern Africa.

“The X-Class is robust with exceptional load capacity and off-road capability, but yet it’s also aesthetically pleasing, dynamic to drive, comfortable and safe,” she added.

Key to this German bakkie’s ride comfort are coil springs which are used both at the front and rear. The front wheels are guided by double triangle wishbones, while at the back is a multi-link solid axle well-suited to transporting heavy loads.

Initially the X-Class will only be available with two versions of Nissan’s 2.3-litre turbodiesel engine - a single-turbo version in the X220d producing 120kW and 403Nm, and a twin-turbo variant in the X250d that’s good for 140kW and 450Nm.

But those seeking the most powerful X-Class will have to wait until later in the year when the 190kW/550Nm 3-litre V6 version becomes available.

The X 220 d is available in rear-wheel drive, while the X 250 d is offered in rear-wheel drive or with engageable 4MATIC all-wheel drive, with low range.

Power is transferred via a six-speed manual transmission, while the X 250 d models are also available with a seven-speed automatic.

The 4x4 versions are well suited to offroading with their elevated 222mm ground clearance and 600mm wading depth, along with useful approach (30.1 degrees) and departure (25.9 degrees) angles.

While a base model with utilitarian-looking black bumpers and steel wheels is available in many overseas markets, South Africa is only getting the midrange ‘Progressive’ and flagship ‘Power’ spec grades.

The Progressive is fitted with alloy wheels, a 21.3cm infotainment screen, cruise control, eight-speaker audio system, leather steering wheel and plenty of chrome trimmings. The Power gets man-made leather seats, dual-zone climate control, electrically adjustable front seats, LED lights and Keyless Go. All models are sold with a six-year/100 000km full maintenance plan.

All versions come with seven airbags. Active Brake Assist and Lane Keeping Assist are optionally available driver assistance systems to increase safety and comfort.

Plenty of options and accessories are available, including surround view cameras, electric sliding back windows, parking sensors, canopies, roll bars, side steps, hard and soft bed covers, tow bars, diff locks and wheel designs up to 19”.

Potential buyers have been urged to visit www.x-class.co.za to configure the model of their choice.

X-CLASS PRICES

X220d 4x2 Progressive manual 120kW/403Nm R642 103
X250d 4x2 Progressive auto 140kW/450Nm R694 025
X250d 4x4 Progressive manual 140kW/450Nm R696 785
X250d 4x4 Progressive auto 140kW/450Nm R723 810
X250d 4x4 Power manual 140kW/450Nm R763 256
X250d 4x4 Power auto 140kW/450Nm R791 315

ALTERNATIVES

Ford Ranger 3.2 DC 4x4 XLT auto 147kW/470NM R610 300
Isuzu KB 300D-Teq DC 4x4 LX auto 130kW/380Nm R585 700
Nissan Navara 2.3D DC 4x4 LE auto 104kW/450Nm R611 500
Toyota Hilux 2.8GD-6 DC 4x4 Raider auto 130kW/450Nm R601 600
VW Amarok 2.0 DC Highline 4Motion auto 132kW/420Nm R624 100

Drive360